Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obama is Serious About Healthcare Reform

It certainly appears that President Elect Obama is serious about healthcare reform with his selection of former Senator Tom Daschle as his Secretary of Human and Health Services. Now the good news is that unlike his future boss, Senator Daschle recommends individual mandate, that is everyone is required to purchase health insurance. (President Elect Obama only mandated that children have coverage). Daschle's other big idea is to create a healthcare board to manage healthcare much the same way the federal reserve does for the economy.

It seems that everyone is pushing hard for healthcare reform. If it can occur for about $125 billion, relatively cheap compared to the $700 to $800 billion desired by the Treasury department, then it might occur sooner than I expected. A look over the past week revealed the following.

An excellent op-ed piece by Shannon Brownlee (author of the book “Overtreated“) and Ezekiel Emanuel (an oncologist, NIH bioethicist) dispell various myths of our dysfunctional healthcare system. In the same Washington Post, columnist David Broder feels that there is a rising hope for fixing healthcare.

Uwe E. Reinhardt is an economist at Princeton has written in the Economix section of the New York Times various articles about why the healthcare system costs so much, which also shatters widely held, but inaccurate beliefs including the issue of administrative costs.

Even NPR's Marketplace had a piece today about healthcare reform.

Of course, I neglect to mention proposals offered by Senator Kennedy or Senator Baucus. It seems like healthcare reform is THE topic to discuss, until of course Senator Clinton is formally introduced as the President Elect's Secretary of State.

I for one was certain with all of the economic uncertainty that we could have kissed healthcare reform good bye. It appears from all the news reports, op-eds, and discussions by various senior politicians that I may have underestimated their desire to see this through. Thank goodness.

I hope, however, that our leaders think carefully about how to reform our healthcare system otherwise unintended consequences will surely occur which may do far more harm than good.

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